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There are five great sins in the Empire, laid out by Imperial Edict as well as the heavenly lords of Jigoku. These sins are said to stem from the beginning of the universe, which began with Nothing. It was through Nothing's actions that the first three sins were created.
'''Fear:''' When the universe was new and all that existed was Nothing. Nothing came before all of the kami, and even the universe, were created. Nothing was afraid, for it was the only thing in the entire universe, and it despaired. Fear is a sin because it drives men to do shameful things. All that separates mortals from beasts is their ability to control their fear.
'''Desire:''' Soon Nothing longed for a companion. From Nothing's aching emptiness came the sin of Desire. Desire created half of the universe, made heavy by the pain felt by Nothing, and the form of the world began to appear. Desire is a sin because it inspires samurai to disobey their one duty in life: to serve their lord. A guard who desires more than his simple job will grow lax as he focuses on things other than his duty. A samurai who desires love will defy honor and his daimyo to gain what he seeks.
'''Regret:''' After Nothing saw what its desire had created, it regretted what it had done, for it was unexpected. The weight of Nothing's regret formed the rest of the universe, and set into motion the events which would create the o-kami. Seeing that it was losing itself to the creation it had caused, Nothing retreated into the blackest recesses of the universe. Regret is a sin both because it leads to the other two sins, and it is also the sign of a weak mind. Regret can cause a man to question his lord, to fear for what he has done, or to desire another life. It also leads to doubt, a feeling that has no place in the heart of the samurai.
'''Uncleanliness:''' Uncleanliness is a major sin, but perhaps the least of the five. Those who are of samurai caste are in a place in the Divine Pyramid that seperates them from dead flesh and other unclean materials. Dead flesh is properly handled by the eta, for that is their place (though a samurai may touch the hair of a dead opponent, and it is by the hair that a samurai will carry the head of a great warrior he has slain to his lord). If a samurai touches dead flesh, he has violated this order, and is unclean. This transgression goes against the gods themselves, so being unclean is very, very serious. However, it is the least of the sins because it can be atoned for quite easily. Certain types of dishonorable behavior can also leave a samurai unclean, depending on the situation. Heimin often don't care about whether they are unclean or not; they are too buisy farming to care.
'''Necromancy:''' This is perhaps the greatest and most terrible sin of all. Necromany is a sin not only because it involves terrible pacts with the dark powers of Jigoku, but also because it involves the touching of flesh that renders one unclean. Undead are feared and despised, for touching one can make you unclean as well. Necromancy is also a sin because it goes agains the natural law, leaving the victim as a cruel mockery of life itself. Necromancy is not only unclean, but it keeps the souls of the reanimated dead from passing on to the Spirit Realms and being reincarnated. Simply put, necromancy detracts from the pool of souls that can be given to any given realm. Necromancers are inherently evil, and anyone proven to be a necromancer is slain, their body and spellbooks burned, their houses ransacked, and, oftentimes, their entire family is killed. For someone to be proven to be a necromancer, there must be clear evidence of the soul in question raising the dead to do their bidding.
There are thousands of kami, and coutless ways to draw each one's disfavor. Heimin have endless superstitions on how to avoid the wrath of each of the kami, or how to regain their favor once they have been angered. They do not realize that not all kami are watching everyone all the time, and somtimes they couldn't care less about the peasants' behavior. When they do become angered, their disfavor can be demonstrated by a broken pot — or a sudden plague. While the kami rarely interact with the citizens of the Empire in such a direct manner, most mortals do not want to be the subject of the story a monk tells generations from now, warning of the kami's wrath.
Atoning for a transgression against one of the kami is simple enough, once the proper ritual is known. The main complication is that each kami has different methods by which he or she wishes to be contacted, depending on the suppliant's request. While the Walkers of the Way and several scholarly clans keep detailed texts on these matters, it is not likely that every home or Temple of the Way will have all the answers a samurai seeks. Eventually, the task should be a simple matter of tracking down correct information (those who have Knowledge (Arcana) or (Religion) will generally have a good idea of what to do or whom to talk to) and performing the ritual.
In contrast, heimin do not necessarily have access even the the Temples of the Way. They therefore have to invent their own ways of appeasing an angry kami. These methods generally run from the humorously nonsensical to the wild, but the important thing to remember is this: as heimin are mostly ignorant to the true workings of the kami, they sometimes lay the blame for a simple bad harvest on their lord. Surely, if he were a pious and correct leader, disasters would not happen! While most peasants simply grumble under their breath about such maters, sometimes these grumblings turn into a full-fledged revolt.
Atoning for sins is a simple matter — the more common sins have simple rituals and prayers to right the wrongs a samurai may have committed. Oftentimes, simple prayer in a temple or the family shrine is enough to purge the sin from a sould. If the sin bears greater weight, the penance can involve fasting, sacrifice of wordly possessions, joining the monastery for life, or even ritual suicide (seppuku). Only the most serious sins are answered with the ritual of seppuku (read: Necromany), but it is the easiest way to erase the stain of a sin.
Though others may still speak of a transgression after a samurai has performed a ritual of purification, it is considered improper to speak of a matter that led to seppuku. Those who continue to speak pooryly of one who paid the ultimate price for his sin tread upon the line of blasphemy themselves.

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